Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has called on the Government to stop its policy of spin and misinformation on the GSOC scandal, and to agree to an independent inquiry into the bugging allegations.
Speaking in the Dáil on Sinn Féin’s motion calling for an independent inquiry, Deputy Crowe said:
“The reaction we have seen from this Government since this story broke has been nothing but incompetent and damaging to public confidence in the justice system.
“We have a Minister of Justice, who is also Minister of Defence, which means the security and surveillance of the State are basically intrusted to the one individual. This creates problems in relation to accountability and transparency.
“In the last few weeks when concerns arose publically that one of the most important independent investigative bodies in the State, Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), was potentially under surveillance his decision was to direct his attention on GSOC and its staff.
“Surely it not too much to ask from the same Minister charged with the security of the State, that he would immediately launch an inquiry into the possible bugging of this vital body? And find exactly who was conducting real time surveillance on GSOC?
“The former Police Ombudsman in the North, Nuala O’ Loan, has stated that they regularly had to do security sweeps, that they told no one and that is was good housekeeping for an independent investigative body, and that GSOC was correct to do just that in this case
“In no way did GSOC act out of the ordinary and was in fact operating to best international practice. Yet this Government, particularly the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice, completely turned on GSOC and attempted to discredit them.
“The Government needs to stop focusing on spin and their misinformation campaign.
“The real concern is that it appears GSOC was under surveillance. A real and robust independent investigation into this issue needs to be agreed and established as a matter of urgency.
“That would be the credible thing to do, the democratic thing to do, and it is the only way we will find out the truth about this alleged bugging.
“This issue is at the heart of the credibility of the administration of policing and justice in this state and the longer the Government prevaricates without an independent investigation, the further public’s trust will be eroded.”